• Share:
Dryer Lint Cleaning Tips

Prevent house fires. Clean the lint from inside your clothes dryer as well as lint caught in the exhaust vent. You can complete the cleaning in about 30 minutes.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Clean lint from your clothes dryer

Built-up lint inside dryer cabinets causes more than 15,000 fires every year. Lint escapes through tiny gaps around the edges of the dryer drum and falls into the cabinet, especially when the exhaust vent or vent cap is clogged and airflow is restricted. The lint can get ignited by electric heating elements, gas burners or even a spark from the motor, and the flames then travel through the lint-lined exhaust vent. To make sure this doesn't happen in your house, check the exhaust vent and the inside of the cabinet frequently.

To clean the exhaust duct, shut off the gas and unplug the dryer, then pull the dryer away from the wall and disconnect the duct from the dryer. Use a brush and a vacuum to remove the lint in the duct. If you have a flexible duct (especially the plastic type!), replace it with rigid metal duct.

To clean inside the dryer, unplug it and turn off the gas, then open either the top or the front. The procedure is the same for gas and electric dryers. For dryers with a top lint filter and a solid front panel, remove the lint filter and take out the two screws on the side of the filter opening. Pull the top forward (Photo 1). Disconnect the door-switch wires in the front corner, remove the front screws and drop the panel forward (Photo 2). The drum will tip as the panel drops, but this won't damage anything. Just hold it up while you clean.

Brush and vacuum under the drum and at the top and back of the dryer. Clean thoroughly around the heating element, but work gently around wires and mechanical parts. Use a long brush to clean the vent, then vacuum it from the top and back (Photo 3).

Finally, reassemble the dryer. Put the front into the drum and lift, then drop the front into the catches near the bottom while holding it tight against the sides. Reattach the front screws and wires, then set the top back down.

Cleaning technique if your dryer has a front access panel

For dryers with a removable front panel, release the metal catches (or remove screws) and pull the panel off (Photo 1). Remove the screws that hold the vent in place, then clean out the lint with a vacuum and brush (Photo 2).

Back to Top

Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

    • 4-in-1 screwdriver
    • Dryer brush
    • Shop vacuum

Comments from DIY Community Members

Share what's on your mind and see what other DIYers are thinking about.

1 - 3 of 3 comments
Show per page: 20   All

March 06, 4:27 PM [GMT -5]

My dryer also is older and electric and has the lint trap in the front door. ???

August 15, 7:42 AM [GMT -5]

My dryer is like 20 years old and has the lint trap in the door. Is the procedure the same? And if not, what is the procedure for getting the lint out from the inside in a front door lint trap?

July 20, 10:47 AM [GMT -5]

Took about 2 hrs to do I'm an experienced handy man and was will due to the 30 min expected time but now I look back and that was the longest 2 hrs of my life .

+ Add Your Comment

Add Your Comment

Dryer Lint Cleaning Tips

Please add your comment

Log in to My Account

Log in to enjoy membership benefits from The Family Handyman.

  • Forgot your password?
Don’t have an account yet?

Sign up today for FREE and become part of The Family Handyman community of DIYers.

Member benefits:

  • Get a FREE Traditional Bookcase Project Plan
  • Sign up for FREE DIY newsletters
  • Save projects to your project binder
  • Ask and answer questions in our DIY Forums
  • Share comments on DIY Projects and more!
Join Us Today

Report Abuse

Reasons for reporting post

Free OnSite Newsletter

Get timely DIY projects for your home and yard, plus a dream project for your wish list!

Follow Us